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NFS 7: Nominated for E3 Award Tuesday, 27.05.2003
Today the nominees of the E3 Awards (Best of E3 2003) have been announced. Need for Speed Underground is "only" nominated in the category "Best Racing Game". The other nominees in this category are F-Zero GX, Gran Turismo 4, Mario Kart: Double Dash and Project Gotham Racing 2.
The winner will be announced on Thursday, June 10.

» E3 Awards
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IGN E3 Award for Porsche Unleashed (GBA) Friday, 23.05.2003
Also IGN released a list of the (from their point of view) best games presented at the E3. Need for Speed Underground is hardly mentioned, but Porsche Unleashed at the Gameboy Advance (developed by Pocketeers) could convince in the category "Technological Excellence".

We've been talking about Pocketeer's 3D engine since the team started on it well over a year ago, and it was great to finally see it in action over at DSI Games' booth in the form of Porsche Unleashed. Though the game was still in its early stages, it showed serious promise as it featured one of the smoothest all-3D engines seen yet on the GBA. We saw a lot of other impressive 3D engines off the record from development teams stopping by our booth, but since they had yet to be incorporated into a publishable game design, we couldn't include them here.

» IGNpocket's Best of E3 2003
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NFS 7: Gamespy E3 Award Friday, 23.05.2003
Gamespy published their Top25 games from the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, which just expresses their own view (paradoxically even some top games like Thief 3 are not listed in any way). Need for Speed Underground is the sixth best game seen on the E3.

Excerpt:
The Need For Speed games have always been one of EA's most reliable franchises. The formula's usually quite simple: expensive motorcars + lush scenery + insane velocity = good fun. This version, though, marks a departure for the series. Rather than the circuit courses common in previous versions, NFS Underground is rooted solidly in the world of illegal street racing. Players will get to tweak dozens of licensed real-world vehicles from companies like Honda, Mitsubishi, Ford and Toyota, and drive them through the city streets.

» NFS Underground - Gamespy E3 Article<br>
» ND4SPDWorld
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NFS 7: Preview at gP Wednesday, 21.05.2003
Also Gamer's Pulse wrote a short preview of Need for Speed Underground from the E3 Expo:

» NFS Underground Preview @ gP
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NFS 7: First Look @ EAGames Tuesday, 20.05.2003
Quite strange, but interesting: EAGames itself wrote a First Look article of their upcoming game Need for Speed Underground from the E3:

First Look: Need for Speed Underground

By: The Editor at EAGAMES.com

On the first day of E3 the EA booth was loud and in charge of the Los Angeles Convention Center’s South Hall.

A majority of the games we’re showcasing here were playable by all booth attendees but only a few were able to witness the next Need for Speed behind closed doors. Need for Speed Underground, while still based on the engine behind Hot Pursuit 2 engine, looks absolutely amazing and while we can’t show you a movie of game we saw (we’re working on that though), we can give you an idea of what we experienced.

The Need for More Speed
The demo featured a heavily modified car tearing down the streets of a sprawling urban concrete jungle at 160-180mph. And while other racing games have featured racing in downtown scenes, Need for Speed Underground was built to showcase a sense of neck breaking speed. That sense of speed was completely planned as the team added designer Habib Zaragarpour, best known as the guy at ILM who created pod-racing scene in Star Wars Episode 1, to turn that goal into a reality. Right now, the game is only 25% complete but you’d never know it by seeing it run on a PlayStation 2. We were shown a night scene after a rainstorm; puddles reflected the lights of the avenue, as did the highly reflective sports car. The details are nice but Need for Speed Underground completely changes with acceleration. Streetlights, lampposts and anything else on the sides of the road take on a blurred high-speed feel as your focus narrows on the road as your speedometer climbs ever faster. It’s a great effect and after talking to a few show attendees, they can't wait to race the dark streets of Underground.

Different Wheels, Different Rides
The biggest change to the next Need for Speed is that it won’t feature the exotic cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren. Need for Speed Underground will instead feature "urban exotics", basically down to earth sports cars that anyone can buy and resculpt into their vision of perfection. Drivers can expect the latest wheels from the likes of Subaru, Toyota, and others major manufacturers. Undoubtedly, switching from exotics to urban exotics is a controversial decision that some purists may not enjoy. But the Need for Speed team says that it has not abandoned exotics for "urban exotics" and expects that future products will feature exotics once again.

Once racers have their wheels, they can start street racing for fast profits and all the best parts. Those parts will change the look of the car and how that car will handle. In many other racing games, you’re given a few options that change the suspension and the tires but in Need for Speed Underground, you’ll be able to change specific parts for just about anything. Change the hood, change the wheels, change the bumpers, ad some decals, tricks out the ground effects… this will make for an amazing amount of variation. Those parts will also change the way your car handles and the physics engine has been beefed up to better reflect those changes. In the real-time demo that we saw, our tricked out car spun our in an attempt to do a powerslide and we watched as the car lurched a little as the suspension kept the car in on the road. It’s an amazing effect that you just have to see.

Got Wheels?
With all the details, we had to ask who on staff had the most tricked out car and it appears that one of the artists easily wins that award. But since they began the project, there have been a few converts as the team considers possible upgrades for their favorite wheels.

For now, gamers will have to wait until early next year to experience Need for Speed Underground, but stay tuned to EAGAMES.com and needforspeed.com for more information about this upcoming game.


» NFS Underground First Look @ EA Games<br>
» ND4SPDWorld (Source)
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NFS 7: Eyes-On at IGN Saturday, 17.05.2003
The onlinemagazine IGN wrote down their impressions about the upcoming game Need for Speed Underground, they saw at the E3:

Excerpt:
Devleoped by Black Box, Need for Speed Underground is completely re-writing the NFS franchise script. Underground gets rid of the $100,000 cars and brings a Fast and Furious attitude to EA racing. The demo, which showcased a 25% complete game, showed off both the customization options in Underground and the speed.
On the customization tip, Underground not only features cars from Honda, Hondai, Toyota, Acura, Subaru and others, it also includes 40 licensed after-market parts companies to fully trick out your ride. With 4 vinyl layers to edit and 30 spots on your car to lay down decals, gamer's will have complete ability to make the care they want.


» NFS Underground Eyes-On @ IGN<br>
» ND4SPDWorld (Source)
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NFS 7: Official NFS website updated Friday, 16.05.2003
The official Need for Speed website needforspeed.com has been updated. Now it has a new layout, and you can still enter the website of NFS Hot Pursuit 2. But they already announce that they are working on the Need for Speed Underground website.

» Official Need for Speed Website
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NFS 7: 5 new Screenshots Friday, 16.05.2003
Electronic Arts published 5 new screenshots of Need for Speed Underground. Two of already were released at IGN, but they are categorized as Xbox images. According to EA, only screenshots of the PS2 version have been released.

» NFS 7: Screenshots
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NFS 7: 3 new Screenshots Wednesday, 14.05.2003
IGN also uploaded two new screenshots of the Xbox version of Need for Speed Underground, together with the interview with Chuck Osieja. The third screenshot comes directly from EA.

» NFS 7: Screenshots
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NFS 7: Interview with Chuck Osieja Wednesday, 14.05.2003
The onlinemagazine IGN talked with Chuck Osieja on the E3 Expo in Los Angeles. They talked with Chuck Osieja, the Executive Producer, about the new direction of Need for Speed Underground.

Excerpt:
Chuck Osieja: The Need for Speed brand was born out of the idea that high end exotic sports cars were the aspiration of anyone who's ever driven in a car. If you're a car lover you want to own a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Porsche (to name a few), it's the ultimate driving experience. There's definitely a fantasy associated with those cars. Unfortunately, the reality is that most of us will never have the cash to park a million dollar car in our garage, let alone get behind the wheel.

When we looked around we saw that kids are replacing the fantasy of owning a Ferrari with the reality of their economics. You can't afford a Ferrari on a fast food salary. What they can afford is to drop down a couple of grand on a used Honda Civic and then spend a few bucks, here and there, to build it into their dream car by replacing every part on it with high performance gear.

Some of these cars that you see kids driving today are amazing. They have horsepower, acceleration, and handling characteristics that rival any car on the road. We realized instead of saving to buy an exotic car they were building there own.

Since the Need for Speed brand is about the exotic car experience it was natural to throw a spin on it and have Need for Speed Underground represent the "Urban exotic" car market.


» Interview @ IGN
» NFSCheats (Source)
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